Manufacturer of unauthorized Mac clones Psystar has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. We have some mixed feelings about this news. A little healthy competition would be good for Apple, as obviously unexcited they are about that prospect (hence, their deauthorizing PowerComputing, Motorola and Umax from building authorized PowerPC-based Mac OS computers a little more than a decade ago)–being able to get a different selection of hardware at a more attractive price point could bring more people into the Mac-using fold. By extension, this might mean fewer viruses in the wild, it might have made Apple consider different hardware configurations (*cough* headless iMac *cough*), it could’ve meant a bigger dent in sales of Windows machines (and Microsoft is using this in their advertising now–PCs with similar specs selling for less are looking pretty attractive to a lot of buyers in this economy.)
The availability of a Mac clone could help video editors–there are a lot of editors who feel more at home on the Mac but can’t afford it, particularly when it comes to being able to add storage, exercising video options, etc. We wish Apple would allow clones again, but it seems unwise to try holding our breaths. Of course, with their reliance on TPM as a mechanism to make sure the “Mac tax” has been paid (and we know this is all about profits on hardware), Apple could simply sell a kit containing a copy of OS X and a PCI Express x1 card (or, for the laptop version, an ExpressCard/34) with a TPM module in place to any PC owner willing to shell out for it. This kit could be $300-350. Apple pockets a few hundred bucks and counts another user of Mac OS X, and everyone’s happy. I’d certainly consider doing this on a couple of my personal machines, if the option was available to me.